NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

UPMC Surgeon Brings Foot Care to Underserved Adults

UPMC Surgeon Brings Foot Care to Underserved AdultsIn time for the holidays, underprivileged adults in Pittsburgh received free foot screenings and proper fitting shoes, thanks to UPMC orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Conti, his family and fellow foot-care professionals.

During the annual Our Hearts Your Soles event, Conti and a team of UPMC foot-care specialists provided foot exams and, based on medical recommendations, University of Pittsburgh prosthetic and orthotic student volunteers fitted participants for shoes. Conti partnered with Catholic Charities to host the event, and more than 400 pairs of shoes were donated from Red Wing Shoe Company and Superfeet.

“Ill-fitting and disrepair shoes can lead to many foot problems with the poor, especially those who live outside during the Pittsburgh winter,” Conti said. “The volunteers and I are privileged to be able to serve these individuals each year through our charity.”

The annual event, which is in its 12th year, was founded by Matthew Conti with the help of his father in the hope to fill the gap in services provided to the homeless population. Since then it’s become a national occasion, taking place across more than 20 cities this year.

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UPMC Hosts International Consensus Meeting to Address Complex Ankle Injuries

Global leaders in the field of orthopaedic foot and ankle surgery recently gathered in Pittsburgh for the International Consensus Meeting on Cartilage Repair of the Ankle.

The first-of-its-kind meeting was the result of a year-long collaboration among national and international experts to develop a consensus on key focus areas like the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for common and complex injuries to the ankle.

“In over 60 percent of ankle sprains, there is an associated injury, whether it be small or large, to the surrounding cartilage of the ankle,” said Dr. Macalus V. Hogan, vice chairman of education and division chief of foot and ankle surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgey at UPMC. “Our goal is to reach consensus with these thought and evidence-driven leaders so we can ultimately improve patient care.”

The meeting included over 100 orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, radiologists and scientists from 26 countries.

Christopher Murawski, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, became interested in orthopedics after suffering injuries as a high school baseball player. He said conferences like these help move research and treatment options forward.

“We have been meeting as a group since 2012, and the first time there was a lot of disagreement,” he said. We now have a very unique opportunity to bring a group of experts together from around the world and discuss a problem where not a lot of clinical evidence exists.”

For more information about orthopaedic care at UPMC, click here.

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Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Diet

Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Diet The holiday season is filled with family and food, but can also be stressful for many people who are concerned about overconsumption. Americans typically gain up to 2 pounds over the holiday season, and this weight gain can increase if they aren’t cautious about caloric intake.

We asked Elizabeth Dubovi, clinical nutrition coordinator at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, for some tips on staying on track with this holiday season.

How should someone get their diet back on track after Thanksgiving?

A. To get back on track after Thanksgiving, I recommend eating like it’s any regular day. Don’t restrict your food intake the following day just because you overindulged – this could easily lead to overeating once again. Additionally, drink plenty of water to help with digestion, and restart your typical exercise routine to burn extra calories you may have consumed. Remember, the holidays only come around once every year, and it’s normal to get off track from a healthy eating plan. With a positive attitude and desire to get back on track, you will recover from your Thanksgiving feast.

Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your DietWhat are some suggestions for controlled eating this holiday season?

A. Be mindful. Mindful eating includes awareness of the entire process of consuming food. First, smell your food and, during the meal, chew slowly and take time to absorb the many flavors. By taking time to eat, you are preventing overeating. Portion control is also important to exercise. Using smaller plates can help to reduce the amount you eat. It’s helpful to start your meal with a salad and vegetables – the fiber will help fill you up and prevent overindulgence of the more high-calorie foods, like entrees and dessert. Always wait at least 10 minutes before going back for second helpings, as it can take 10 to 15 minutes for your stomach to realize it is full. Finally, enjoy dessert! If portion control was managed during the first course, enjoying dessert in moderation is not a problem.

Can you name a few tips to avoid overconsumption during the holiday?

A. On Thanksgiving Day, don’t drink your calories. While it is traditional to drink alcoholic beverages on the holiday, being mindful of the empty calories they contain is important. I recommend eliminating alcoholic beverages completely, however, limiting your consumption to one to two beverages can help to significantly reduce the calories you consume. Additionally, don’t sit near dessert trays – this often leads to mindless consumption of sugary, high calorie foods. Over the days following Thanksgiving, be smart with your leftovers and don’t feel you need to eat everything at once. Eating traditional Thanksgiving dishes over several meals or days can also be enjoyable. Try eating turkey, stuffing and a salad for lunch and choose turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans at dinner.

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UPMC Physicians Publish Opioid Safety Guidelines for First Responders

Amid concerns for the safety of first responders exposed to chemicals like fentanyl, UPMC emergency physicians recently published precautionary safety guidelines for emergency medical personnel who may be exposed to a harmful substance when responding to the scene of an overdose.

The guidelines were developed by UPMC emergency medicine physicians Dr. Michael Lynch, Dr. Francis Guyette and Dr. Joseph Suyama, and published in the September issue of the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.

“We’ve seen multiple reports of police officers or EMT’s and other types of responders potentially exposed to powder with a variety of symptoms that may or may not have been attributable to the drug or powder,” Lynch said. “That further fueled concerns for the safety of the responders.”

The guidelines cover various response scenarios and provide safety recommendations for first responders when they encounter a situation that may be considered high risk for exposure.

To obtain a copy of the guidelines or request additional information, contact the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC at 800-222-1222.

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A ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Cardiac Care

UPMC leaders and staff recently celebrated the opening of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Mercy. Located in the UPMC Mercy Professional Building, the center provides comprehensive care for patients seeking treatment for a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions, including ischemic and valvular heart disease, lipid disorders, preventive cardiology, hypertension and venous disease.

A team of more than 20 specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery now deliver community-based care at UPMC Mercy. They diagnose, treat and manage heart and vascular disease, but also focus on strategies to help patients prevent these diseases from developing.

Keeping with UPMC Mercy’s Catholic heritage, The Rev. Albert Schempp blessed the new space, its clinicians and the patients who come to the hospital seeking treatment. Michael Grace, president of UPMC Mercy, led a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the clinic.

“With this space, we can truly accomplish what the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute is designed to do,” said Dr. Michael Fallert, chief of cardiology at UPMC Mercy. “We house everything our patients need under one roof, and being able to walk down the hall to ask input from a colleague allows for easy collaboration and more effective care.”

The new facility is made up of 20 exam rooms, an area dedicated specifically to telemedicine appointments, and offices for physicians, nurses and administrators. Clinical pharmacists and a dietitian provide onsite patient counseling. Electrophysiologists are also available to evaluate and treat all arrhythmias and provide consultation for possible ablations and implantation of defibrillators or pacemakers.

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Mercy sees patients Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients seeking a cardiology or cardiac surgery appointment can call 412-232-9030, and those seeking vascular surgery appointments can call 412-802-3333. Additional information is available on the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website.

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